Have you ever wanted to grab your friend's phone and seize control of their disastrous dating life? Now you can.
Enter Wingman, a new app launching today that lets you set up friends with only people you deem appropriate. Rubs hands together in devilish anticipation. It’s not a dating app, exactly. It's more of matchmaking app — a little bit like handing your friend your Tinder or Bumble account and saying, "Here, you deal with this."
What sets it apart from the flood of other dating apps is that singles can’t create their own profiles or connect themselves with people. Your fate rests almost entirely in the the hands of your wingman or wingwoman. That's either terrifying or a total relief, depending on how you feel about your friends!
Wingman also stands out because it wasn’t created by the stereotypical figure behind many dating apps, the whiz kid who thinks the right algorithms can solve any problem. Instead it's the brainchild of Tina Wilson, a charismatic, fully grown woman with several decades of IRL dating under her belt.
Wilson, who's based in London, told Mashable that she found herself single after a breakup and had a squad of friends, most of whom were already paired off, who were eager to drag her into the world of online dating. She resisted, so they started searching sites for her.
It was then that she realized there really was no easy way for friends to help each other out, especially if they lived in different places. And that’s how Wingman came to be. She's been beta testing it in the UK and Australia for several years, and now she's ready to make it official in the U.S. (It's available for iOS. Android version is coming soon.)
Clearly there are a lot of people who are too shy or nervous to do all the self-promotion required by dating apps, but this isn’t just for them. It's for anyone who wants a little help from a friend, including those who’ve dated online so much that they've grown weary from all the swiping and endless disappointment.
Now you can pass on this dreaded task to your trusted surrogate and let him or her do all the grunt work — and, even better, deal with all the rejection. When they try to match you with someone and that person says no, you remain blissfully unaware.
There’s an obvious appeal here for a lot of meddling friends too. There are those of us who are now in relationships and need to live vicariously through our single friends. And if you’re a graduate of the dating app scene yourself, this could be your chance to use all your hard-won knowledge to help others succeed.
The good news for all wingwomen and wingmen-in-waiting is that it’s now surprisingly easy to insert yourselves into the romantic lives of your friends. You simply login to the app with Facebook and create a profile for the single friend in question. You can do this for as many pals as you like, and each dater profile can also have multiple wingpeople.
Your friend is then sent a link to review all the good things you’ve said about them. (Yes, they’d better be nice. This is not the time to revisit the awful thing your best pal said to you in middle school.) Once they’ve approved their profile, you can start swiping through potential matches for them.
If you swipe on a match for your single and that person is interested, your friend is automatically connected to them. They’re free to take it from there. Sorry, nosy nellies, you don’t get to be a part of their chats.
The gender and relationship preferences are all open. So basically you can help your friends find whatever they’re looking for. While in testing, women have tended to sign up more as wingpeople, there's been roughly an equal pool of male and female singles.
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It's a lot of steps to go through to help your friends find casual sex. So chances are it will end up serving people who are looking to find more lasting connections. But Wilson told us it can be for casual dating as much as it is finding marriage material.
She designed the app to recreate the way these interactions would work IRL. You’re sitting at a bar, you see a cute guy or girl, point them out to your friend, make the introduction, and then duck out.
As in real life, you’re allowed to have more than one wingman, and there's even a leaderboard to see which wingman is doing the best for any given single. So if your sense of altruism isn't motivating enough, maybe your competitive side will jump in?
While singles can’t go after matches directly, they can give their wingperson a “nudge” if they see someone in the app that they want you to connect them with. However, it’s up to you to decide if that person is, in fact, a good fit.
It's funny to think of your friends trying to save your from your own bad judgment — Wilson deemed it "a bit of a breathalyzer test." But you’re also opening a discussion about why your choices might have led your pals to screech, "No, no, no he’s not right for you." There’s probably something you can learn from that reaction.
This all raises an especially interesting facet of Wingman, which is that it's far more social than your typical swiping session. Testers reported to Wilson that they liked being able to see all the nice things their friends said about them in their profiles, and also that it was much more collaborative.
One user who’d just moved to a new city told Wilson that it made navigating an otherwise lonely experience more fun, saying, "My sister and my mom are still helping me out, introducing me to people." For their part, wingpeople liked to be involved and were invested in finding good matches.
So if you’re the kind of person who’s willing to open up your romantic life to friends, this seems like a smart way to do it. Of course not everyone wants to have their mom or sister involved in their dating decisions... and that’s fine too. You obviously need to be selective about your squad.
And if you’re just really not into group dating, there are literally hundreds of other apps where you can fly free without a wingman to help — or hinder — you.